Beat around the Bush
By Chris Crees WITH the Christmas season approaching fast and the prospect of an energy-sapping six league games due in December – not to mention the burden on fans wallets – the strain on QPR s squad will be tested to the limits. Unfortunately, I don t
By Chris Crees
WITH the Christmas season approaching fast and the prospect of an energy-sapping six league games due in December - not to mention the burden on fans' wallets - the strain on QPR's squad will be tested to the limits.
Unfortunately, I don't possess a squad of wallets, but I do expect our playing squad to be used to its maximum in the coming weeks and quite rightly so in my view.
Earlier this season, there was a lot of criticism flying around from all quarters, questioning Jim Magilton's use of so many players. I for one fully approved of it, if only to discover the strengths and weaknesses for the glut of games ahead, where it matters, on the pitch.
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Hopefully, Jim will now know the squad well enough to pick and choose players depending on how he needs to play.
Although we've been delightful to watch lately, it was quite noticeable against Leicester how we were outmuscled in midfield and I doubt we're going to be allowed to play 'beautiful' football week in, week out.
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It was unfortunate, of course, that none of Ben Watson, Gavin Mahon or Martin Rowlands were available, but at least Jim would have been able to identify a weakness and hopefully correct it. Football is no longer a team game; it's a squad game.
The difficulty of a squad is trying to keep everybody happy, especially if you have somebody of equal talent in the same position, parked on the bench or turning out for the stiffs. I suspect, though, that Jim has achieved that this season, as anybody that's come in has certainly seemed to relish the opportunity.
The other factor to consider in using your squad, apart from the possibility of picking up injuries through constant games, is of course yellow cards.
It's about now that those who have played regular league games and like to get 'stuck in', will start serving bans because of the card count and I wouldn't mind betting that a few will have reached 10 around the busy Christmas period.
Even those who aren't known for regular yellows could well find themselves on five by the time Christmas arrives as we'll have played around 25 games.
This calls for a strong squad with the right mentality and I believe we have that - even if Watson can't stay on the field.
Is there a case for resting a player because of his card count and saving him for a really tough fixture the following week? Personally I think there is.
On the other hand, take a look at the quality of our December fixtures and it's probably fair to say we can't really do without anybody!